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DoubleTWO started out as the Wakefield Shirt Company in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, not just during World War II but also because of it. Isaak Donner and Frank Myers set up the company in 1940 as a response to the acute shortage of cotton in the UK; they used viscose rayon to make clothing, and the company’s reputation for innovation and enduring quality was established.
By 1946, the company was a leading manufacturer of men’s shirts. We were best known for our double collar shirts, which were based on a design patented by Isaak Donner. The patented shirts were designed in a way that the collars could be easily removed by pulling on a tab sewn into the collar attaching seam. Each shirt came supplied with a complimentary replacement collar which could easily be sewn into the place of the removed collar. The design transformed the shirt industry, and the company became synonymous with the double collar shirt, earning it the name DoubleTWO.
The world’s 1st manmade fibre shirt
In the 1950s, the company collaborated with Dr Rex Whinfield, the inventor of Terylene, which would eventually become known as Polyester. The result was a durable shirt with a luxurious texture and drape.
Our factory expanded to an 8-acre modern marvel in 1952. The results were impressive – shirts of impeccable quality being produced by workers who had doubled their earnings by working with the latest machinery. In a little over a decade, DoubleTWO expanded from a two-man operation to a business that employed 500 people and produced 800,000 shirts a year.
A legacy of innovation
In the late 1950s, we introduced the world’s first ever blends of natural and manmade fibres, adding strength as well as shrinkage and pilling resistance to our cotton/wool blend. In the mid-1960s, DoubleTWO pioneered the white non-iron shirt, which was a blend of cotton and polyester; a special resin was added to give the shirt anti-wrinkle properties.